The prevalence of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) increases in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), exacerbating cognitive decline. However, the prevalence and the severity of SVD in dementia-free nonelderly T2DM patients were largely unknown. Our primary aim is to investigate SVD in such patients, with a specific focus on the correlation between SVD and diabetic peripheral sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSP). We recruited 180 young and middle-aged subjects without cognitive impairment (106 with T2DM, 74 controls). Signs of cerebral SVD on magnetic resonance image were investigated, and the overall SVD burden was evaluated by a combined score. Patients with T2DM underwent further detailed DSP assessment. Regression models were used to investigate the association of SVD with the presence of T2DM, and the associations of the prevalence and severity of SVD and DSP were also explored in patients with T2DM.

The prevalence of microbleeds and overall burden of SVD were significantly higher in T2DM patients than in the controls. Further, the presence of DSP related to an increased risk of SVD after adjustment in diabetic group. Moreover, Toronto Clinical Scoring System values were positively associated with the increased SVD scores, and bilateral sural sensory nerve conduction velocities were negatively associated with increasingly severity of SVD scores.

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